Give us the Facts! ... Food processors urged to tell Jamaicans what they are eating
Jamaicans have been urged to demand clear nutritional labels that warn them about products that are high in sugar, salt and fat.
Pointing out that excess consumption of products high in sugar, salt and fat increases the risk of obesity as well as chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, the Heart Foundation of Jamaica wants Jamaicans to think about the contents of pre-packaged ultra-processed foods.
Along with the National Consumers’ League, the Heart Foundation has launch a new mass media campaign to encourage Jamaicans to make healthier choices. The Heart Foundation said that it's research found that consumers find existing food labels hard to read and understand, making it more difficult for them to make healthier choices.
"We encourage consumers to use this campaign to call for a better food labelling system- one that can empower them to make healthier choices and protect their health and the health of their loved ones,” said Deborah Chen, executive director of the Heart Foundation of Jamaica.
The campaign that has been dubbed: 'What's in Our Food? Give us the Facts'.
More than half (54 per cent) of Jamaicans are overweight or obese. The obesity rate among 13-15 year-olds increased rapidly between 2010 and 2017, from 5.3 per cent to 10.3 per cent among boys, and from 6.7 per cent to 9.9 per cent among girls.
"Excess consumption of products high in salt, sugar and fats is increasing rates of overweight and obesity and non-communicable diseases like diabetes across Jamaica. We believe that highlighting ‘what’s in our food’ will lead to greater consumer awareness and action to adopt a balanced diet for better health and wellness," said health minister Dr Christopher Tufton.